Eric Gordon showed why the Clippers missed him.
Mo Williams proved why the Clippers traded for him.
And though the two guards stepped onto the court for the first time together Wednesday morning at a shoot-around, by nightfall, they more than proved their worth in the Clippers’ 106-103 win against the red-hot Houston Rockets.
“Well, it’s nice to have some guys back, that’s for sure,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said.
The two scored the Clippers’ final 12 points, making 10 free throws in the final three minutes to seal the win, which snapped a five-game skid in front of 19,060 at Staples Center.
Gordon, fresh off an 18-game absence — in which the Clippers went 4-14 — because of a right wrist injury, finished with a team-high 24 points on eight-for-18 shooting in almost 35 minutes.
“It bothers me every time I shoot the ball,” Gordon said of his wrist, which was packed in ice after the game. “I just try not to worry about it.”
Williams, acquired from Cleveland last week in a trade for Baron Davis, notched a double-double in his home debut, scoring 17 and recording 11 assists in about 31 minutes.
“I like to take control of the game and be a floor general,” Williams said.
“I know these guys’ strengths and I just try to keep them within their strengths.”
Said Gordon of Williams: “He’s a good point guard. He’s been an All-Star and he knows how to work within our team.”
Williams’ play, and his shooting, helped stretch the court and give Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman room down low.
Griffin had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Chris Kaman scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench.
Houston (31-32), which was playing the second of a back-to-back, had won five straight and nine of 12.
The Clippers (22-40) had a 10-point lead with 7:26 left, but Houston tied it at 91 with 4:56 remaining.
The Clippers built their lead back to six with 29 seconds left, but two late three-point jumpers by Houston kept it close.
Houston’s Chase Budinger missed a 29-foot three-point shot at the buzzer that would have tied the score.
The Rockets were led by guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 24 points.
Houston made 13 of 31 three-point shots.
Midway through the second quarter, Williams delivered his first home-court highlight, which of course was an alley-oop pass to a Clippers’ big man.
DeAndre Jordan (eight points, 16 rebounds) took it with his right hand and crushed it over the top of Rockets center Brad Miller.
“I was just trying to do the ‘Blake Griffin’” Jordan said. “You know when Blake usually gets a dunk, he stares the guy down.
“So I was just like, let me be like Blake.”
Said Griffin, who was sitting in the next locker over: “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”
Griffin got his due a few plays later, when he used two hands to dunk off a Williams alley-oop pass that came off a pick-and-roll play.
“We’ve got so many more options now,” said Griffin. “It’s a lot more fun.”